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Ambitious Queen’s Speech

The National Federation of Builders (NFB) has welcomed the ambition of the Queen’s Speech which contained thirty-eight bills but is disappointed at the lack of detail on some key elements.

Richard Beresford, chief executive of the NFB, said: “Construction will be delighted to hear that local procurement processes are being reformed to help SMEs, Levelling Up will focus on employment and regeneration, and regulatory reforms for business and on EU policy are coming. It is also good to see the Government recognise that without greater powers, East to West high-speed rail will not get off the ground.

However, planning reform, which is key to Levelling Up, didn’t offer anything on housing supply or to builders but instead concentrated on resident involvement and greater local powers. Similarly, despite the mention of an Energy Bill, social housing and Infrastructure Bank, planning, which enables these ambitions in practice, was not mentioned alongside them.”

The following bills were announced in the speech:

·       Renters Reform Bill and Social Housing Regulation Bill

·       Procurement Bill to replace EU rules and help small businesses

·       Energy Security Bill with new powers to boost renewable energy and promote a market in electric heat pumps

·       Schools Bill and Higher Education Bill, which aims to offer educational loans to lifelong learners

·       Transport Bill to deliver a state-run agency to regulate railway services and grant greater powers to deliver HS2

·       Levelling up and Regeneration Bill giving councils new planning powers, including forcing landlords in England to let out empty shops and rejuvenate high streets

Beresford concluded: “The Queens speech sets out an agenda for change but does not identify the complexities of getting there. Many of the announcements made today already sit within our vision of Levelling Up and supporting British business, so we will be working hard with the Government to help them understand how construction and planning can, does and is hindered from meeting their lofty and welcomed ambitions.”

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